New search in Jennifer Dulos case days before ‘informant’ to appear in judge’s chambers

NEW CANAAN — Connecticut State Police investigators spent hours Monday searching an area of town property near where Jennifer Dulos’ SUV was found the night she vanished.

The search, which was mostly focused in the area of the New Canaan mulch dump, came two days before one of the defendants who has been cooperating with the investigation is scheduled to appear in a judge’s chambers for an unrelated case.

Brian Foley, aide to Department of Emergency Management and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella, described the search as a “standard investigative effort out of an abundance of caution.”

State police did not say what they were looking for or if they were there in response to a tip.

Nearby Waveny Park was one of many key locations investigators first searched after Jennifer Dulos vanished on May 24, 2019. The 50-year-old’s body has never been found, but police said she is presumed dead based on the evidence found in the garage of her New Canaan home.

Her estranged husband, Fotis Dulos, died by suicide in January 2020 while facing murder, kidnapping and other charges in the case.

Fotis Dulos’ ex-girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, and his former attorney, Kent Mawhinney, have each pleaded not guilty to charges in the case.

Mawhinney is scheduled to appear in a Hartford judge’s chambers on Wednesday to discuss the status of his domestic violence cases involving his estranged wife. Referring to Mawhinney as a “jailhouse informant” in court filings, an attorney for Troconis has requested a court order to review documents in the domestic cases to see if a deal is being worked out in exchange for cooperation in the Dulos case.

The prosecution has previously said they plan to call Mawhinney as a witness if Troconis goes to trial.

Mawhinney is facing charges of sexual assault and violating a protective order for incidents police said occurred in 2019 involving his estranged wife. He is free on bond after pleading not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the Dulos case.

Chief State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo did not respond to questions Monday about the search and whether it was connected with Mawhinney.

Mawhinney has been accused of trying to create an alibi for his longtime friend, Fotis Dulos, the morning of the disappearance.

Authorities believe Fotis Dulos drove a pickup truck belonging to one of his employees from his home in Farmington to New Canaan the morning of the disappearance, according to arrest warrants. Fotis Dulos parked the pickup on Lapham Road, near where police later found his wife’s SUV, the warrants indicate.

Police said they believe Fotis Dulos rode a bicycle from Lapham Road to his estranged wife’s home on Welles Lane where he attacked her in the garage when she returned from dropping off their five children at school, according to arrest warrants.